Monday, October 02, 2006

Sometimes The Darkness Moves Through You

Seven years ago, a package mysteriously appeared on my doorstep at my Panhandle apartment in San Francisco. When I opened it, a copy of Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 tumbled out. I thought it was odd, but placed the small volume on the shelf with my other books and really thought nothing more of it. Until now. We're reading the novel for our book club this month. From the back cover, The highly, original satire about Oedipa Mass, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge. Was the anonymous package sender trying to tell me something- do I play a part in the conspiracy? Or perhaps now I'm finally ready for the deep self-knowledge reading this book will impart to me.

Now for a poem by Dean Young that he wrote for Brenda Hillman.

Bright Window
I was born through a bright window.
Winged faces, docile lions, the usual
heliocentric wires. The gods loved playing
tricks then, festooned with rags,
making the wine dregs pour forever,
switching the reels so midway through
Children of Paradise, Wile E. Coyote
creams himself again. Meep, meep,

everyone in a hurry in clouds of ink
like frightened squid. I had a friend
who spun in the rain until her makeup
melted and a scar remains on my retina.
I had a friend who thought the secret
was in turning a turntable backwards.
One pill made you stronger, one pill
and you could fly. I had a friend
who crashed us through a cornfield
and all the husks could do was sing
but that was all right, it was singing
that mattered to us, had weight,
occcupied space, in motion tended
to stay in motion, at rest rest.

You start with a darkness to move through
but sometimes the darkness moves through you.

I loved those cold May mornings
stalling the wisteria,
none of the oils yet, just sketch,
the million buds of I don't know what
waiting by the stairway where no one's crying
yet, or laughing, not one leap yet in the dance,
it's almost impossible to be afraid,
the furnace kicking on one last time,
the animal dragging itself a short way
from its birth.

Sometimes I sit for hours watching people
struggle with the big glass doors,
trying to fit small lids on large cups.

You can't have it back, says the fire
affectionately. You never needed it
anyway, promises the earth.

From Skid


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